What is Asana?
What most of us understand yoga to be. The physical practice of yoga. Asana meaning seat is the third of the eight limbs of yoga. Yoga Asana began back in the day as seats of meditation however evolving over the years to a way of training young men for battle to what we now understand yoga practice to be. You know those gym classes you see or the online YouTube videos that you do - that my friend is a moving meditation and each posture or asana is a space for the union of the mind, body, and breath to happen.
The yoga classes you go to are much more than we give them credit for. The body is the temple of the spirit and as such, it is important that we look after and care for the physical vessel we have been given. The body is tangible but we cannot see the mind. Therefore, it makes complete sense as to why we are more likely to connect to asana as our first yoga experience.
The physical practice of yoga increases our awareness of our bodies. Postures awaken the sensations of different parts of the body for example concentration on a raised arm makes us very aware of our arm. This is where the idea of a moving meditation comes in. Our awareness is focussed. It is an experience of consciousness.
Our bodies are a manifestation of our mental state so asana is not meant to be a stand-alone practice. In fact, none of the 8 limbs of yoga are intended to be separate from one another they are meant to be so intertwined that they build on one another.
It's absolutely no surprise that most yoga practitioners started with asana as their introduction to yoga and have expanded their practice of yoga into the rest of their lives. Because asana is not only asana. It is so much more. It is consciousness. It is breathing. It is true union.